DENTON (8/17/06) - The North Texas soccer team will have a tune-up for the 2006 season on Friday night when it faces Oklahoma in a scrimmage at the Mean Green Soccer Complex at 7 pm. The Mean Green will be playing in its new stadium, located in Mean Green Village on Bonnie Brae, for the 2006 season.
The soccer team returns 10 starters from a squad that captured its second consecutive conference title and matched the school record with 16 wins. North Texas is poised for a three-peat in the Sun Belt Conference and an opportunity to go deeper into the NCAA Tournament. The team recently finished a week of two-a-day practice sessions.
"I thought preseason went well considering the hot conditions we had to train in," said head coach John Hedlund. "My main goals were to get my players fit, work on team chemistry and avoid injuries, and I think we achieved that."
The Mean Green begins the regular season on Sunday, Aug. 27 at Texas State. North Texas faces perhaps its most difficult schedule with five games against NCAA Tournament teams from 2005.
The non-conference schedule is highlighted by two home games against Houston on Aug. 31, and SMU on Sept. 3. Since the 2000 season, North Texas has been nearly unbeatable at home, compiling a record of 46-2-4 which includes an unbeaten streak of 14 games heading into this year. North Texas then hits the road for two matches against nationally-ranked teams from last year,starting at Nebraska on Sept. 8. The Mean Green then faces USC two days later in Lincoln, Neb. on Sept. 10.
On Friday night, North Texas will face a tough Big XII opponent in Oklahoma.
"OU is a strong opponent," said Hedlund. "It will be a good measuring stick to see where our team stands at the start of the season. I'm going to be able to see how much depth we have and which young players can play at this level right away."
Hedlund will be holding out a few key players due to nagging injuries. Heather Hutyra, Amanda Mitchell and freshman Lauren Shockey will not play but should be ready for the season opener.
There will be an admittance fee for soccer, volleyball and softball games this season. Tickets are $3 for adults and $2 for children. An Olympic Sports Pass is $30 for the season for soccer, volleyball and softball. There is no outside food and drink allowed inside the soccer complex. The concession stand will be open and it is accepting credit cards. No pets will be permitted.